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GE Tops $10B in Renewables Investment

William Opalka

GE wind turbineWhat started as a small play in the wind sector eight years ago has turned into a $10 billion investment in the renewable energy industry.

GE Energy Financial Services said it has exceeded that amount in commitments worldwide to become one of the renewable energy industry’s leading players.

The projects generate twice the electricity consumed in Los Angeles annually, and the investments have created an estimated 10,000 US jobs.

In recent years GE has invested $1 billion annually in wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects and expects to continue to do so. Its renewable energy projects can generate 17 gigawatts of electricity.

GE says $8 billion are in more than 12 GW of wind farms and $1.7 billion are in 1 GW of solar power installations, with the balance in other renewables. The projects span 16 countries and 28 states.

The projects create an estimated 10,000 direct US jobs, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory and GE modeling.

Currently, the company is completing the 550-MW Desert Sunlight solar power project in southern California, which uses GE power inverters and is already producing more than 375 MW. Wind farms are being built in Ireland, Nebraska, Illinois and Texas. The wind farms under construction or completed use more than 4,400 GE turbines, with GE able to provide both capital and technology.

The company formed its renewable energy unit in 2006 and has invested an average of $1 billion a year, despite major changes in regulations, government incentives and energy markets.

The company maintains its growth tracks industry-wide expansion. Electricity generation from renewable sources grew from 8.3 percent of total US power load in 2007 to 12.9 percent in 2013, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.



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